Through all the hurrahs, long commercials, and bad calls made by the referees millions tuned in to see who would be this year’s super bowl champ. The big talk of the town that’s been flooding my Facebook news feed was Beyoncé performed during halftime, and for the most part, I liked it. She and Bruno Mars were giving us a little Janet and Michael in their choreography, the only thing I didn’t like was the theme Beyoncé went with. Yes! I said it.
Now I know what y’all are going to say, why am I hating? She is just trying to show black appreciation during these pearl times when anti-blackness is reaching its peak. I get it. In all seriousness, I’m not trying to rain on her parade. However, the history of the Black Panther party resonated something in me to write this and the role that black women had to endure participating in this memorable movement.
The socialist party was created in Oakland, California in 1966. The mission of the group was providing education to youth, shelter, gun rights, and most famously being pro-black. Very good intent, but, unfortunately, some individuals sought after personal gain and to top it off with misogynoir.
You have many women who were prominent figures in the BBP who witness male-chauvinism first hand. Assata Shakur even recounted that “you had to develop this whole arrogant kind of macho style in order to be heard.” Elaine Brown, a former chairwoman of the Black Panther party, left the organization after Huey Newton issued corporal punishment on an administrator of the Panther Liberation School (Regina Davis) for reprimanding a coworker who didn’t do his work.
Regina Jennings (former member based in California) who was treated poorly by her captain because she ignored his advances. Eldridge Cleaver, a respected but not well-liked leader, was known for beating his wife Kathleen Cleaver. To make matters worse Mr. Cleaver was a convicted rapist with black and white women. Even though gender equality was implemented by the organization, it failed to deliver its favoritism towards masculinity.
Unfortunately, that’s what the theme of her performance resonated with me. Misogynoir, and it is still prevalent today. I won’t lie, it hurts when I see or hear a black man displaying that behavior because it doesn’t unify the community or build trust in one another. Even though we are racially oppressed, black (cisgender) men still have male privileges that need to be taken into account, instead of being brushed under the rug while black women get ignored.